There was to be a celebration Tuesday followed by a district game against Bozeman, the last time the Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High School softball team would play host until early April.
The game was ultimately canceled at the last minute due to an injury to a Bozeman player the night before, but the game was just icing anyway, so the celebration for three players headed to step to the next level went on just the same.
The next level, that is, after another trip to Vero Beach and the state Class 1A playoffs; Vero Beach has almost become a home away from home for these seniors, who have played in three state title games, winning one, and reached the semifinals one other time.
“We are going to do our best (to return to Vero)” said Savannah Lister, one of three players signing Tuesday.
Lister is headed to Florida State University in Jacksonville while teammates Gracie Price and Cyrina Madrid signed on with the Gulf Coast Lady Commodores.
“I think they are getting three great players,” said Wewahitchka coach Tony Price. “They are great kids, they work hard on the field, great academics.
“Just great kids all around.”
Tony Price has coached the seniors on his team, and two others are choosing not to play in college to focus on academics, since the youngsters were in T-ball, he said.
They have been winners from early on, winning a state championship as 12-year-olds.
Madrid and Price have played varsity since seventh grade and Lister was right behind when she was in the eighth grade, Coach Price said.
There was a common thread to the college destinations for the three: familiarity.
Lister is headed to Jacksonville in large measure due to having five players on her travel team playing for the four-year school.
“I have a bunch of friends from travel ball going there and it just felt right for me,” Lister said.
For Madrid and Gracie Price, best friends since those early T-ball days, Gulf Coast seemed almost a natural.
“I thought it was the right fit for me and what I have planned for the future,” Madrid said, adding she is pursuing a general degree until she finds her niche.
“I liked (Coach Scott Thomas) and just thought it was a good fit.”
Gracie Price added, “It is close to home and I think I will fit in good. Plus, Cyrina is going there and that will make it more comfortable.”
Coach Price echoed his daughter, expressing pleasure that she would be playing just 30 minutes or so down the road.
“I am glad they are staying close to home so their fan base can follow them,” Coach Price said.